Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/559

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538
[HISTORY
SPAIN

Gibraltar, and a beginning was made of a Romanized provincial population, though in a somewhat half-hearted way. But in the north, on the high plateau and amidst the hills, there was incessant fighting throughout the greater part of the 2nd century B.C., and indeed in some quarters right down to the establishment of the empire. The Carthaginians had extended their influence no great distance from the eastern coast and their Roman successors had all the work to do. In the long struggle many Roman armies were defeated, many commanders disgraced, many Spanish leaders won undying fame as patriot chiefs (see NUMANTIA). Even where one Roman succeeded, the incapacity or the perfidy of his successor too often lost the fruits of success. But though its instruments were weak the Republic was still strong, and the struggle itself, a struggle quite as much for a peaceful frontier as for aggrandize men-t and annexation of fresh land, could not be given up without risk to the lands already won. So the war went on to its inevitable issue. Numantia, the centre of the fiercest resistance, fell in 133 B.C. before the science of Scipio Aemilianus (see SCIPIO), and even northern Spain began to accept Roman rule and Roman civilization. When in the decade So-70 B.C. the Roman Sertorius (q.v.) attempted to make head in Spain against his political enemies in Rome, the Spaniards who supported him were already half Romanized. There remained only some disturbed and unconquered tribes in the northern hills and on the western coast. Some of these were dealt with by ]ulius Caesar, governor here in 61 B.C., who is said also to have made his way, by his lieutenant Crassus, to the tin mines of the north-west in Galicia. Others, especially the hill tribes of the Basque and Asturian mountains fringing the north coast, were still unquiet under Augustus, and we find a large Roman garrison maintained throughout the empire at Leon (Legio) to overawe these tribes. But behind all this long fighting, pacification and culture had spread steadily. The republican administration of Spain was wise. The Spanish subjects were allowed to collect themselves the taxes and tribute due to Rome, and, though the mineral wealth doubtless fell into the hands of Roman capitalists, the natives were free from the tithes and tithe system which caused such misery and revolt in the Roman province of Sicily. On the other hand, every facility was given them to Rornanize themselves; there was no competing influence of Hellenic or Punic culture and the uncivilized Spaniards accepted Roman ways gladly. By the days of Cicero and Caesar (70-44 B.C.) the southern districts, at least, had become practically Roman: their speech, their literature, their gods were wholly or almost wholly Italian, as Cicero and Strabo and other writers of these and the next few years unanimously testify. Gades, once Phoenician, gained, by Caesar's favour and the intercession of Balbus, a Roman municipal charter as municipium: that is, its citizens were regarded as sufficiently Romanized to be granted both the Roman personal franchise and the Roman city-rights. It was the first city outside of Italy which obtained such a municipal charter, without the usual implantation of Roman citizens (either poor men needing land or discharged veteran soldiers) from Italy.

Augustus (or Tiberius possibly) reorganized the administration of Roman Spain.. Henceforward there were three pro-1-|,, g,,,,,;re, vinces: (a) the north and north-west, the central 27B.C.- table-land and the east coast as far south as New A'D' 406' Carthage, that is, all the thinly-populated and unquiet hill country, formed the province of Tarraconensis with a capital at Tarraco (T arragona) under a legatus Auguszfi pro praetore with a legion (VII. Gemina) at Leon and some other troops at his disposal; (b) the fertile and peaceful west formed the province of Lusitania, very roughly the modern Portugal, also under a legatus Augusti pro praetore, but with very few troops; (c) the fertile and peaceful south formed the province of Baetica, called after its chief river, the Baetis, under a proconsul nominated by the senate, with no troops. These divisions (it will be observed) exactly coincide with the geographical features of the Peninsula. Substantially, they remained till


the end of the empire, though Tarraconensis was broken up at different dates into smaller and more manageable areas. Augustus also accelerated the Romanization of the land by planting in it many municipalities (coloniae) of discharged soldiers, such for example as Augusta Emerita (mod. Merida), which declares by its name its connexion with time-expired veterans and still possesses extensive Roman ruins. Either now, too, or soon after, imperial finance agents (procnratores) were appointed to control the revenues and also to look after the mines, which now became Imperial property, while a special praefectns administered the Balearic Islands. The two principal features of the whole country during the imperial period are its great prosperity and its contributions to Roman literature. Shut off from foreign enemies (though occasionally vexed by pirates from Africa), secluded from the wars of the empire, it developed its natural resources to an extent unequalled before' or since. Its iron and copper and silver and lead were well known: it was also (according to the elder Pliny) the chief source whence the Roman world obtained its tin and quite outdistanced in this period the more famous mines of Cornwall. But such commercial prosperity characterized many districts of the empire during the first two centuries of our era. Spain can boast that she supplied Rome with almost her whole literature in the silver age. The Augustan writers had been Italians. When they passed away there arose in their places such writers as the younger Seneca, the epic poet Lucan, the epigrammatist Martial, the literary critic Quintilian, besides a host of lesser names. But the impulse of the opening empire" died away and successful commerce drove out literary interests. With the 2nd century the great Roman-Spanish literature ceasedrit was left to other regions which felt later than Spain the stimulus of Romanization to enter into the literary tradition. Of statesmen the Peninsula was less prolific. The emperor T rajan, indeed, and his relative and successor Hadrian, were born in Spain, but they were both of Roman stock and Roman training. The 3rd and 4th centuries saw a decline in the prosperity of Roman Spain. The confiscations of Septimus Severus and the ravages of barbarians in the middle of the 3rd century have both been adduced as causes for such a decline. But while we need not doubt that the decline occurred, we can hardly determine either its date or its intensity without careful examination of the Roman remains of Spain. Many of the best Roman ruins such as the aqueduct of Segovia or the bridge of Alcantarano doubt date from before A.D. zoo. Others are probably later, and indicate that prosperity continued here, as it did on the other side of the Pyrenees in Gaul, till the later days of the 4th century-perhaps indeed not till the fatal winter's night in 406-7 when the barbarians burst the Rhine frontier and flooded Gaul and even Spain with a deluge from which there was no recovery. (F. ]. H.)

B.-From A.D. 406 to the Ma/zommedan Conquest. The Barbarian Invasion and the V-isigotlzic Kingdom.-With the irruption of the Vandals, the Suebi and the Alans, the history of Spain enters on a long period of division and confusion which did not end even with the union of the chief kingdoms by the marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand at the close of the 15th century. The function of the barbarians everywhere was to cut the communications of commerce, and the nerves of the imperial administration, thereby throwing the invaded country back into a fragmentary condition from whichla new order was to arise in the course of centuries.

This function was effectually discharged in Spain by the Vandals and their associates, who plundered far and wide, and then by the Visigoths, who appeared as the g “foederati, ” or duly commissioned defenders of;g;', fl°"'"d the Romans. The first-corners cannot be said to have conquered the country in the sense that they established a rule of their own. They were not numerous enough for the execution of such a task, even if they had possessed the capacity. When in 428 Gaiscric, king of the Vandals (q.v.), accepted the invitation of Bonifacius, the count of Africa, and passed out